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Tracy James
University Communications

Last modified: Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hilltop Garden and Nature Center shifts within IU Bloomington administrative structure

Sept. 11, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Hilltop Garden and Nature Center, a staple of the Bloomington garden scene for decades, will shift administratively from the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) at Indiana University Bloomington to the IU Office of the Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, IU officials announced today (Sept. 11).

The facility is expected to continue its longstanding community outreach programs while opening up collaborative opportunities with academic departments and programs across campus.

Hilltop photo

Hilltop Garden and Nature Center

Print-Quality Photo

"Fine arts, sustainability initiatives, anthropology exhibits -- the potential for collaboration across campus is really exciting," said Greg Speichert, director of Hilltop Garden. "We want to continue expanding our community outreach programs, but we also want to be a resource for the whole campus."

Robert M. Goodman, dean of the School of HPER, and J. Terry Clapacs, IU vice president and chief administrative officer, agreed to the transfer in recent weeks, but the discussions have been ongoing for about six months. Goodman and Clapacs say Hilltop Garden's programs and non-profit support are outstanding, and that the time was right to discuss situating the facility within a different administrative structure that might help it reach its potential.

"We're optimistic that this will ensure greater success for Hilltop Garden in the future," Goodman said.

Hilltop Garden has resided in the School of HPER's Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies since 1985, but its roots are in biology. Hilltop was guided and managed by the Department of Biology for several decades before the administration of the 5-acre site was transferred to HPER. The facility is located on 10th Street and includes a greenhouse, classroom and garden plots.

The Office of the Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer is responsible for a range of administrative functions, including University Police, Purchasing, and maintenance of the buildings and grounds on the Bloomington campus. The office includes the university horticulturalist and landscape designers who also will be able to provide support for Hilltop Garden. Maintaining the facility was a challenge financially for a single academic unit, officials say.

Clapacs, a gardener himself, sees a lot of potential in the new organizational model.

"Hilltop Garden has been engaging community gardeners and youth for decades," Clapacs said. "This new structure should help make its resources more available to the university community."